Ness Notes (July 28)

It’s not often that a team in last place has the distinction of possessing the longest active winning streak in MLB. However, as we enter another weekend of baseball, the Washington Nationals (just 46-56 overall), snap a six-game winning streak in their three-game series at Dodger Stadium (10:40 ET). ).

My bye game for Friday is the Bal Orioles over the Chi White Sox at 7:05 ET. After passing two of the last three days, I open the weekend with only one move on Friday. He’s a Las Vegas Insider as I try to improve my 25-13 streak since May 1 with these exclusive plays.

All six of Washington’s wins have come at home (three against the Cubs and three against the Giants) and while they will be on the road tonight (where the team is just 20-32), the good news is that they will be playing the Dodgers. LA has lost eight straight games (the longest active losing streak in MLB) and is 1-13 since the break.

The Dodgers have been outscored 81-29 in that span and the team that went into the recess with the best batting average in the NL can’t seem to hit (or score) these days. LA hasn’t lost nine straight games since June 1992, when the Dodgers went on a 10-game losing streak.

Tonight’s pitching matchup is not a classic, as Tony Armas goes for the Nationals and rookie Chad Billingsley goes for the Dodgers. Alfonso Soriano clearly isn’t letting the trade rumors bother him, as he’s hitting .422 since halftime, leading Washington to an 8-4 record.

It’s a full schedule of games tonight (15), with the Tigers/Twins reunion taking center stage. Detroit owns the best overall record in the MLB at 68-33, but no team has drawn more attention these days than the Twins, who are 34-8 since June 8.

Minnesota was 11 games out of the AL wild-card spot before its current streak, but enters this three-game home series with Detroit tied with the White Sox at 59-41, just a half-game behind the NY Yankees ( 59-40). ).

The bad news for Minnesota is that the Twins are 2-7 against Detroit this year (outscored 64-25), including a three-game sweep of the Tigers at Comerica Park in late April, in which the Tigers outscored the Twins, 33 -1! More bad news for the Twins comes from the fact that the Tigers’ 30-13 record in the AL Central is the best record of any team in MLB against its own division.

Tonight’s game (8:10 ET) features two rookie pitchers, Detroit’s Zack Miner and the Twins’ Francisco Liriano. Miner has pitched in the shadow of Justin Verlander this year, but after being called up in early June, he has pitched very well. He lost his first start, but then won six in a row, posting a 2.13 ERA.

However, Miner has been bombed in his last two outings, allowing 15 hits and 10 ERs in just 6.2 innings. That’s not good news against the Twins, a team that owns the best home record in MLB at 37-11 after winning 20 of its last 21 home games.

Liriano, of course, has been big news this year. He got his first start on May 19 and has gone 11-2 in his 13 starts in 2006, posting a 1.93 ERA. He started the year in the bullpen and has faced the Tigers twice this season.

He allowed 11 hits and seven ERs in just 3 2/3 innings of work against Detroit in those two appearances and it should be noted that the Tigers are 23-7 against left-handed starters this year, including 13-4 on the road. Those two relief appearances don’t seem like much of a concern to me, though, as the Twins are under-$1.75 favorites (and climbing!).

While the Tigers/Twins series is the main matchup of the weekend, the Angels and Red Sox also open a three-game series tonight. The Angels are 17-5 in July and enter the weekend a half-game behind the A’s in the AL West.

The Red Sox own the second-best record in the MLB at 61-39, and although they have made the postseason in each of the last three seasons, including winning the World Series in 2004, they have not won the American League East. since 1995.

In fact, the archrival New York Yankees have finished first eight in a row and nine of the last 10. Boston enters the weekend with a 1 1/2-game lead over the Yankees in the East.

A quick review of the “money line” standings shows the Tigers continue to dominate the majors, earning more than $3,047 for the year. The Twins’ recent hot streak and Chicago’s recent slump (the White Sox are 2-10 since the break and have lost 12 of their last 15) has prompted a shift behind Detroit.

The White Sox have dropped into the top five, with more than $569. Meanwhile, Minnesota has moved up to No. 2 with more than $1,870, the Red Sox are third with more than $1,341, the Mets are fourth with more than $1,028 and the Reds (just 54-48) are now fifth with more than $1,028. $641.

A look at the worst shows the Pirates under $2,283, the Indians under $1,968, the Cubs under $1,808, the Astros under $1,698 and the Phillies under $1,579. (35-66), the Royals are under $510 for the year.

The lines are set for the NFL Hall of Fame Game (Eagles are minus-3 and the total is 36), Week 1 of the preseason and Week 1 of the NFL regular season. My NFL previews will start on Monday.

Ness Notes is available Monday through Friday at 1:00 ET.

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